Partner Engagements: KU-WEE Hub Consultative Meeting with Tharaka Nithi County Government

Five members of the KU-WEE Hub, led by Prof Judith Waudo, visited Tharaka Nithi County Government (TNCG) on 6th January 2021. The County is the partner of the KU WEE Hub, as it provides ready access to communities in which initiatives that work for women’s economic empowerment can be tested. The purpose of the visit was to understand the operating environment at the County and to deliberate on modalities for joint implementation of the KU-WEE Hub Project, as some of the studies will be piloted and carried out in the County. Researchers from the County will be participating in KU-based studies: (1) Effectiveness of SGBV Mitigation and Prevention Programmes in Enhancing Women’s Economic Empowerment; and (2) Women’s Participation in Management and Leadership Positions in the Public Sector in Kenya: Closing the Gender Gap. Jointly with the KU researchers and researchers from Yale University (one of our key International Partners) will implement an RCT  on “Improving Women’s Market Work and Child Development through the Crèche Programme”. During the visit, our host, Hon Abraham Maruta, the County Minister in-charge of Public Services reported that the KU WEE Hub has the full support of His Excellency the Governor of the County.

Figure 3: KU-WEE Hub staff led by the Hub Leader, Prof. Judith Waudo, pose for a photograph with the CECM Public Service Administration and Devolution Affairs, Hon A. Maruta) outside the County Headquarters at Kathwana.

The visiting team was informed that Tharaka Nithi is one of the Kenya’s semi-arid areas, with 80% of its land receiving unreliable rainfall. The ethnic groups in the area include the Tharaka, Chuka, Mwimbi and Muthamb. For long, development programmes had been confined to the high rainfall areas along the main Embu-Meru Highway. The County Headquarters was built at Kathwana, a semi-arid area, to correct this imbalance. The Crèche programme is currently located in Chuka market and extensions to other markets are under way. The County Government through the County Gender Office is working with a number of stakeholders to support women’s economic empowerment in the area. . Among these are Chuka University, Plan International, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Media Groups, and CARITUS Kenya (an inter faith networking group). The County is represented in the KU-WEE Hub Board by the County Executive Committee Member (CECM), Hon. Abraham Maruta.